Social Media Use – Employee Policies and Guidelines

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    Blogs, comments and social network postings are very important in businesses’ marketing tactics. They attract audiences and begin to build relationships of trust and engagement. But employee posts can also inadvertently cause PR nightmares for business, if even ONE errant post goes viral and causes negative word of mouth.

    Legal Risks of Employees’ Social Media Use

    When using social media, companies are exposed to many serious risks from multiple angles, including:

    • Defamation
    • Copyright
    • Anti-trust issues
    • Inappropriate use by staff
    • Intellectual property rights
    • User generated content
    • Employment practices

    It’s Time to Plan Your Policies and Guidelines

    Don’t let your marketing and communications teams run ahead without due diligence and risk management controls.

    EXAMPLE Social Media Policies

    Let’s take a quick look at a few companies’ policies and guidelines on employee use of social networking. The policy excerpts below offer highlights of their own in-house guidelines:

    Yahoo’s Blog Policies – Belief Statement

    Yahoo! believes in fostering a thriving online community and supports blogging as a valuable component of shared media.

    For more information, see excerpts fromYahoo’s Policies

    Mayo Clinic’s Employee Social Media Policy

    The main thing Mayo employees need to remember about blogs and social networking sites is that the same basic policies apply in these spaces as in other areas of their lives. The purpose of these guidelines is to help employees understand how Mayo policies apply to these newer technologies for communication, so you can participate with confidence not only on this blog, but in other social media platforms.

    City of Seattle

    To address the fast-changing landscape of the Internet and the way residents communicate and obtain information online, City of Seattle departments may consider using social media tools to reach a broader audience. The City encourages the use of social media to further the goals of the City and the missions of its departments, where appropriate.

    Many companies are quite explicit, with well-defined, formal rules. Others adopt a more open, lenient culture.

    Could this be inviting a future legal battle?

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    For more resources, see our Library topics Marketing and Social Networking.

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    ABOUT Lisa M. Chapman: With offices in Nashville Tennessee, but working virtually with international clients, Lisa M. Chapman serves her clients as a business and marketing coach, business planning consultant and social media consultant. As a Founder of iBrand Masters, a social media consulting firm, Lisa Chapman helps clients to establish and enhance their online brand, attract their target market, engage them in meaningful social media conversations, and convert online traffic into revenues. Email: Lisa @ LisaChapman.com